Genres: Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Berkley
Released on April 3, 2018
After seeing Hollis and Reese come together as a romance pair as well as FBI Special Crimes partnering, I was tickled to see them back and fabulous as ever against a resident evil. They are working with an unconventional team this time around and I enjoyed meeting all these new players.
Hold Back the Dark is the eighteenth book in this long standing paranormal thriller romance series and is also the sixth book in the sub-series within the larger one of Bishop’s SCU FBI team stories. There is a little feeling of this book being tied in with the rest of the series, but I suppose, in a pinch, a person could grab this one out of order. There are character charts and a list of psychic terms in the back of the book to help out.
Hold Back the Dark was an interesting one. It felt very much like the start of a new series in ways. It introduced a half-dozen new people, their pasts, and their gifts, their ties to the SCU and Haven and then the story got into the main case they are all working on. With this one, I felt like the inter-personal and individual stories were more the focus than their actual case. Like others before it in this series, it was a gritty, violent series of murders and the reader gets a sense the team and local law enforcement are up against some true evil.
Because, this built a huge front porch (all the set up and intros), I felt the overall story development was uneven. The end was rushed and abrupt. I was actually thinking as I neared the last pages that the story would carry over into another book, but then suddenly, wham, here’s the answers and wham, there’s the finish. I felt more was needed to conclude this book for me with unanswered questions that were brought up earlier let alone what’s the direction for all these new characters. As this is part of an ongoing series, I can only hope that this just means the next book will tease some of that out.
Several characters take turns being the focus and the narrators though the main pair are Hollis and Reese. Hoillis is worried about being lead over a group that she doesn’t know and they are all heading into a huge, dark situation with apocalyptic possibilities if they fail. She has to learn to rely on others, not try to shield them, and let people do their jobs. I loved how Hollis heeded Bishop’s advice and lived up to his great confidence in her. And what I really loved was seeing that, once again, Reese totally respected her as an equal partner and had no trouble with her as the lead. He loves her, but he also respects and trusts her.
So, another thrilling installment in the series was easily devoured. There are some dark, gritty, and moderately squeamish descriptions when the investigators come across the grisly crime scenes, but I was able to handle it because it wasn’t told in the present just described afterward. Those who enjoy psychic thrillers or paranormal romantic suspense would be the best fit for this book.
My thanks to Penguin-Random House for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
As far as she could tell, anyway.
Even though it was a smallish town, and fairly isolated, Prosperity was not entirely off the beaten path; no major highway was close, but the town was located in a section of the Appalachian Mountains considered particularly scenic, so it was the rule rather than the exception that plenty of sightseers and other tourists drove through pretty steadily from spring right up to winter.
Some of them even stopped for a few days or at least a long weekend, enjoying one of the two very nice hotels in the main part of town, good food, the scenery, and local crafts sold for reasonable prices in small shops staffed by smiling, friendly people.
Crime was practically nonexistent, in part because Sheriff Jackson Archer was a good cop and a highly respected, homegrown citizen of the town, and in part because Prosperity was . . . well, a prosperous small town. So there were enough jobs to go around and good schools that not only educated the kids but offered plenty of after-school and summer activities. On the whole the citizens were happy.
Which was maybe, Katie thought, why it struck her as so odd to feel a very unusual tension as she strolled along Main Street, stretching her legs and having a look around. She’d been vaguely conscious of an uneasiness she couldn’t pinpoint for more than a week, but now there was nothing vague about what she felt.
Except a good reason for it.
Because she didn’t see any reason for tension; it looked to her like a perfectly normal Tuesday morning in early October. There were quite a few tourists about, she noted, wearing the slightly harried but pleased look of people who were not at home but were bent on enjoyment of their surroundings.
This far south the leaves hadn’t turned yet, so that wave of visitors was still some weeks away, but the season so far had been nicely busy since spring. And now that the kids had gone back to school, Katie hadn’t had to tell even one teenager that the downtown sidewalks weren’t to be used for skateboarding, they knew that, and what was wrong with the half pipe and surrounding skateboarding area in the very nice park on the west end of town?
A normal Tuesday.
Katie said hi to a few people she knew, nodded politely to visitors she didn’t, and tried to hide her own increasing tension behind a pleasant smile as she strolled along the sidewalk.
What was bugging her? It was an uneasiness inside her, but even more it was something outside her, something she . . . sensed. She caught herself looking back over her shoulder more than once, for some reason always surprised that there was nobody following her, even watching her as far as she could see, and the part of Main Street behind her looked just as normal as what lay ahead. But the feeling had been with her too long to ignore, and it was growing stronger.
It felt like something was about to happen.
And what was going on with her skin? Something else that had begun days ago and had intensified. It was tingling, an unpleasant sort of pins-and-needles sensation as if she had a pinched nerve somewhere. Somewhere that it would affect her whole body. Was that even possible? What—
Get off the street.
The commanding voice in her head was something she had experienced enough times in her life to obey without question. She glanced around quickly, knowing she was too far from the station and her office, too far from her Jeep, her apartment.
And there were people everywhere.
Without many options, Katie slipped through one of the few narrow alleyways to be found downtown, this one far too narrow to do anything creative with; it was just a musty-smelling passage between brick buildings, out of the sunlight and so growing mold or algae or something on the walls and the concrete floor. At the back, behind each of the buildings on either side, tall wooden fences enclosed small areas where the trash was discreetly hidden from the businesses and homes behind Main Street.
Quickly, Katie stepped inside one of the areas, knowing she wouldn’t be visible unless someone on a rooftop was peering down at her. She wrinkled her nose at the faint rancid smell of garbage even though it was further hidden from sight by the big rolling trash containers, their lids closed.
She barely had time to sort of brace herself in one corner, the tall wooden fence support on two sides, before she was hit with something so powerful it literally stole her breath.
She dimly felt herself sliding down the wood, trying to do that rather than fall over the garbage cans.
Then everything went black.
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